Casa do Benfica Portuguese Restaurant at Marrickville & District Hardcourt Tennis Club, Marrickville
Here's one reason to go to a sports club. The food. Sign in, ignore the courts and park yourself at a table for a generous feed and drinks at club prices. You can even rock up in your sweatpants and sneakers. Win.
At Strathfield Sports Club, my favourite way to
Football memorabilia in the dining room
Pull up in the car park and follow the path towards the sound of thwacking tennis balls. Behind the chairs of huffing and puffing tennis players between games you'll find the club dining hall. The walls are littered with jerseys, photos and memorabilia from Sport Lisboa Benfica, the football/soccer club based in Lisbon after which this house (or casa) is named.
Complimentary bread and olives
We're immediately greeted with a basket of complimentary bread and a bowl of olives. The double-sided laminated menu is more expansive that it first appears. You'll find eleven entrees (from $4 for garlic bread and up to $20 for grilled king prawns) and 26 mains, 12 of which are meat and 14 of which are seafood. These start at $19 for a steak with egg, rice, chips and salad and top out at $60 for the mixed grilled seafood platter that serves two.
Camarão com alho $17
It doesn't take long for our entrees to arrive. Be warned. Portions are massive. Our terracotta dish of sizzling garlic prawns holds about 8 prawns for $17. The prawns are plump and sweet but it's the caramelised garlic oil that's the real winner. Our waiter is quick to replenish our bread basket as we soak up the last sticky remnants of oil.
Vongole clams in lemon and mustard sauce
The vongole clams are listed as an entree but it's more of a main in portioning size. Some of the clams do have a little grit and sand, but otherwise they're cooked masterfully, tender and succulent in their dousing of tangy lemony sauce.
Bife à Portuguesa $23
Steak, round chips and egg
If protein and carbs are your thing, then Portuguese steak and chips is for you. A massive steak comes with added protein in the form of a fried egg. And forget about the paper-thin discs of finely shaved radish spotted in fancy restaurants these days. The original protein camouflage is the chip, sliced thinly and fried until golden, draped over the steak in a blanket of modesty.
Bacalhau no tachinho $25
Fried codfish, tomato sauce and round chips
The promise of round chips is the clincher for our next dish. There are five different ways you can order the bacalhau or salted cod, one of Portugal's most revered dishes. We choose fried over grilled or boiled. The bacalhau no tachinho comes smothered in a saucy mix of onion and tomato, adding a terrific tang to the cod that flakes apart with ease.
The chips are great too, like the original hand-cut potato crisp. That surface area to thickness ratio is ideal for maximum crunch.
Chocos grelhados $22
Grilled cuttlefish, boiled potatoes and salad
Pudim de caramelo $6
Creme caramel flan
The display fridge on the counter provides a preview of the day's desserts on offer. We go with the classic creme caramel, a wobbly baked custard drowned in bittersweet caramel sauce.
Meringue with egg and almond lemon custard
And we can't resist the Portuguese favourite, molotof. You could call this a distant cousin of the Aussie pavlova, a pillowy soft ring of meringue that's like the soft innards you find inside the pavlova shell. The meringue is sandwiched with a lemony custard.
Dance floor and the dining room
We exerted ourselves simply by trying to eat what we ordered, but if you're feeling particularly energetic, the weekend band manages to get several folk onto the dance floor.
Good food. Great prices. Huge portions. Game, set, match.
Casa do Benfica Portuguese Restaurant
Marrickvill & District Hardcourt Tennis Club
1 Centennial Street, Marrickville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9569 1966
Monday to Saturday 11am-3pm and 6pm-9pm
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7/13/2016 12:59:00 am